Mum sues for $750k in work-for-dole death
TWO and a half years after her son, 18, was fatally injured while doing a work-for-the-dole job, Toowoomba woman Jennifer Fing still thinks about his last words to her.
Joshua Park-Fing stood in her bedroom doorway, as he was about to head off to work, farewelling her with the words "Love ya, have a good day'' and "See ya Mummy''.
"Little did I know they were the last words I would ever hear from my Joshy,'' said Ms Fing, who is now suing a job agency and an agricultural society for $750,000.
Josh was thrown from a trailer on to a bitumen road, while he was working for the dole at Toowoomba Showgrounds, and died as a result of his head injuries.
"That day was the beginning of having to live the rest of my life with a heart so broken, never to be repaired, and a grief that will last till my last breath,'' Mrs Fing said.
"Josh always said to me that he was going to live at home forever. He was never going to leave me.''
Ms Fing's District Court damages claim, filed by law firm Maurice Blackburn, is against the Royal Agricultural Society of Queensland and job agency Neato Employment Services.
They are yet to respond to the claim.
"Joshy's accident should never have happened, should never have been possible,'' Ms Fing said.
Josh and other work-for-the-dole participants were on a trailer being towed by a tractor, on a rubbish pick-up job at Toowoomba Showgrounds on April 19, 2016.
As the tractor gathered speed down a decline in a bitumen roadway, its brakes and gear box failed, the claim says.
The tractor driver steered it on to grass and applied the handbrake, but the wheels locked, the driver lost control and Joshua was thrown onto the bitumen.
It is alleged the job agency failed to provide a safe workplace or adequate supervision and the agricultural society failed to maintain the tractor and allowed workers on the trailer to ride unrestrained.
Ms Fing goes to bed with a picture of her Joshy wrapped in one of his T-shirts.
"At night I hold that T-shirt close to my hear and cry away my pain,'' she says.
She often sits for hours by Josh's grave, which is fully covered with flowers - because the grieving mother cannot stand the thought of the mower running over him.
"I don't think that words will ever truly explain the depths of my despair. I am a broken woman who lives in a world of fog,'' she says.
"Employers have a duty of care to prevent work accidents. Unfortunately in this case Josh and his family were seriously let down,'' Allison Grimley of Maurice Blackburn said.
"This claim reflects the impact on Jenny and the family and the fact that they now have to live without Josh.''
Last year, the agricultural society was fined $100,000 and the job agency was fined $90,000 for Workplace Health and Safety breaches, as a result of Joshua Park-Fing's fatal accident.